One of the must try dining places in Baguio which more and more Metro Manilans are discovering is Forest House Bistro and Café along Loakan Road. A 275 sq.m. restaurant with a homey atmosphere created by pinewood, yellow bricks, colored antique glass windows and a foyer by the entrance
Forest House opened its doors to the dining public six years ago by Ari and Raquel Verzosa and Ari’s cousin Alvin.
Apart from its cozy and intimate ambiance, Forest House has been earning diners nods because of its good food. The restaurant’s menu offers a wide variety of dishes mostly of Asian influence- Roti Canai (Indian flat bread with curry dip), Fresh Green Salad with kani and Mango (organic greens with mango and crabstick), Spicy Thai Squid ( Stir fried squid in thai chili sauce) and Pisang Goreng (banana slices on rice wrapper, topped with vanilla ice cream). Also on the menu are popular international dishes such as Lengua con setas (ox tongue in gravy mushroom sauce), Prawns Thermidore (baked prawns in Bechamel cheese sauce), and Roasted Dijon Rack of Lamb (spiced with herb and blue cheese). Then there’s Forest House’s house special, Bagnet. Its what diners keep going back to Forest House for, aside from bottomless Benguet Arabica coffee.
Still awed by the success of Forest House is owner Ari Verzosa, who was born, raised and educated in the of Pines and whose family owned Burnham Hotel along Calderon street after college, He joined Philippine Airlines (PAL), so he had to leave Baguio in favor of Metro Manila. He was with PAL for 12 long and fruitful years. It was there he met his future wife Raquel, whom he eventually married and had Five lovely children with. After a while, he began missing and clamoring for the simple life that he had back in Baguio. So he talked it over with Raquel, who welcomed his idea of relocating the family to Baguio and starting a small business in the land of his childhood.
Forest House came soon after. Designed to be a cozy restaurant that captures the ambiance of Baguio while serving good food at reasonable prices, the restaurant took off almost immediately. A hit among locals, it also attracted (and continues to attract) a regular crowd of Manila people.
Just recently, Ari brought Forest house down to Manila by opening a new branch at Silver City Mall within the Frontera Verde compound in Pasig. The 110-square meter outlet has all the design features of Forest House in Baguio. The only thing that isn’t there is the pervading smell of pine and the natural coldness of Baguio. It has free wifi, though, and the same comfort foods that the original Forest House offers.
“When we decided to open a branch in Manila, we realized that Manila diners are more difficult to please, so we decided to offer 50% of the item on our original menu and asked a chef consultant from CCA to develop an additional 40 dishes for us. The house special, Bagnet, is of course available”, says Ari.
And, oh, don’t forget to try Forest House’s strawberry dressing when you order fresh green salad. Its to die for.
World Flavors in a Baguio Setting
Vol. 8 no. 77